The Adventures of Imber-Kitten, Tarma-Turtle, and Mommy-Cat!

So, I’ve written a fair amount here on the blog about Imber, my currently 12 year old cat whom I recently discovered is either Siberian or part-Siberian, and who is physically disabled (and doesn’t like other cats).

Small Siberian (blue tabby) cat on a flannel blanket, looking up at the camera.
Imber lying on the desk chair looking up at me, February 25, 2020.

As a twelve year old, Imber is getting on in age, and as much as I really hate to admit it, sooner or later she’s going to pass away. Both Brightspot and Mitzy were in their mid-teens when they passed, and I’m hoping that Imber will reach at least that age… but it will happen, sooner or later, and I’m going to need another cat around to help me when that happens.

I semi-recently (back last fall) discovered that St. John’s has a cat café – the Mad Catter Café – and even more recently discovered that they take volunteers (despite the fact that I’ve played Scrabble with someone who has been volunteering there for over a year). So back in early January, I contacted them to see about the possibility of becoming a volunteer, in part to ease Imber into the idea of me smelling like other cats.

The Mad Catter Café gets its cats (there are six adoption slots, so there’s usually between six to seven cats there – seven if there’s a bonded pair that should be adopted together) from the City of St. John’s Humane Services, and all are available for adoption. (In fact, some of the current residents of the Mad Catter are viewable on the “Cats” adoption tab at the above website.) Cats go to their forever homes either Sunday evening or on Monday (when the café is closed for the day).

I started with a shift the Tuesday before Snowmageddon hit the Avalon Peninsula (Friday January 17, 2020). As you can imagine, there were then no shifts for a few weeks while St. John’s tried to recover from the huge dump of snow we received. Shifts resumed the week of January 27th, and I quickly found myself a part of the Mad Catter family.

Then I went in for a shift on February 12, and one of the new cats caught my eye. She was a black and gold tabby, just over a year old and recently spayed, and she didn’t seem to care for the other cats coming near her. (There was some hissing and ears down involved.) And I fell in love. (Though not with her name. I very definitely did not care for the name “Girly”.)

Called my mother on the way home and said, “Okay, I’ve found the cat I want to adopt!” Went through the paperwork and everything, changed her name to Tarma (from the Mercedes Lackey character in her Vows and Honor trilogy, in part due to the colouring), and was going to take her home the evening of Sunday, February 16.

Tarma on my lap at the Mad Catter Cafe, sticking her tongue out.
Tarma with her tongue sticking out, on my lap, at the Mad Catter Café on February 15, 2020.

Woke up Sunday morning at 4:28 or so to the fire alarm going off in my apartment building. Grabbed Imber, shoved her in her case, and made my way out to find out what was going on.

Turns out that the sprinkler pipes on the top floor in my half of the building had burst, and there was a fair bit of flooding going on. End results: I moved in with my parents for most of that week – until Friday the 21st – and Tarma stayed at the Mad Catter for another week.

So I brought her home on Sunday, February 23, 2020.

And quickly discovered that she was more vocal and more active than Imber… and she’s a counter cat. And she likes stick-like things. (Just last night she destroyed a mechanical pencil of mine – I discovered the bottom part plus the leads container in my bedroom last night, and the upper part just under Imber’s food and water mat this evening. The good news is that I can distract her with pieces of driftwood that I’ve collected – she rather likes the wand-like piece that my eldest niece gave me for a birthday.)

Mechanical Pencil split into two pieces by a certain tabby cat.
The mechanical pencil that Tarma decided was a stick.

Tarma also likes bags. Not to lick, the way Imber does (plastic especially, for some reason), but as… well… hiding spots. She decided the first day I came home from shopping at Dollarama after I’d gotten her that the large green recyclable bag I’d needed to get was hers. How I found out? I was on the couch, and heard what sounded like Tarma down between me and the coffee table. I looked down, and all I saw was the large Dollarama bag I hadn’t put away. I looked at Imber, glanced around… and then noticed that the bag seemed to be a bit puffed up for an empty bag. Lo and behold, a moment later, I took the first photo below.

Imber… does not like this new cat in her territory. She’s coming to grips with it, and the distance she insists Tarma keep away from her is decreasing – well, it was until Tarma decided on Tuesday (March 10) that Imber was either a kitten or a toy, and either way was to be played with. As I’m writing this (not yet posting), the two of them are in their favourite chairs in the living room, drowsing. (Having gone back to sleep after the picture below was taken.)

Small blue tabby in the blue chair, and somewhat larger black-and-gold tabby in the desk chair, both drowsing.
Imber in the blue chair and Tarma in the desk chair, both drowsily looking at me taking the picture.

But peace is coming, as long as I make sure that they’re separated when I give them canned food or treats (both of which they get today – it’s a second night, meaning canned food, and it’s a Sunday, meaning they got treats this morning before I was picked up for brunch and the day at my parents’ place). (Imber takes hers on the blue chair in the picture above; Tarma’s goes on the mat with her food and water.)

And Tarma can now come up behind Imber, if Imber’s perched on something and Tarma’s not hunting, and sniff Imber’s tail without issues. (Though if Imber turns around and sees her, hiss, snarl is the order of the day.)

As for the nicknames in the title… well, I’ve been “Mommy-Cat” since I brought home a little six-month-old blue tabby kitten with a missing right hind paw, and she’s been “Imber-Kitten” and “my baby” just as long. They’re both my sweethearts, but I wanted a nickname/endearment specifically for Tarma, because I’m always using the endearments when speaking to the cats.

As it happens, my youngest sister was always called “turtle” by our mother (because even now, she’s slow to get ready to go anywhere, and it was worse when she was a kid), and Tarma’s colouring, though she’s not an actual tortoiseshell, resembles a turtle’s shell a fair bit. So she is “Tarma-Turtle” when I’m using formal endearments, and “Turtle” (or “Tarma”, of course) most of the rest of the time.

So, preliminary adventures of Imber-Kitten, Tarma-Turtle, and Mommy-Cat have been described.

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